LARGE FOLIO LIMITED EDITION OF DESIGNS BY LÉON BAKST, WITH 68 MOUNTED PLATES, 52 IN COLOR
(BAKST, Leon) LEVINSOHN, Andre. Leon Bakst. Berlin: Verlag Ernst Wasmuth, . Folio (11 by 14-1/2 inches), original full vellum, uncut; original slipcase. $4000.
Limited first German edition of Levinsohn's life of Bakst, number 23 of only 250 copies produced, tracing the artist's important contributions to the history of modern art and dance, with 68 full-page mounted plates of costumes and sets, 52 in color, including the frontispiece portrait of Bakst by Modigliani, and numerous in-text mounted linecuts and photogravures, many also in color.
"In the book of fame, the name of Léon Bakst is writ large… He was destined to modify profoundly the whole conception of the western stage." A gifted painter, Bakst is best remembered for the sets and costumes he designed for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in the early decades of the 20th century. His exotic and sumptuous designs, in conjunction with Diaghilev's radical and provocative choreography, helped revitalize ballet and lay the framework for modern interpretive dance. It was the Ballets Russes that first brought such classics as Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty to the West, featuring scenery and costumes by Bakst. This "luxurious volume of color plates" contains beautiful designs from many of the Russian ballet's most renowned productions, including Firebird, Blue God, Cleopatra, Narcissus, and Bakst's famous Scheherazade (Steegmuller, 78). "Bakst's greatest claim to theatrical glory lies in his feeling for synthesis, in his impeccable instinct for harmony" (Levinson). Preceded by the 1922 American edition and the 1923 English and French editions. Text in German. See Freitag 422.
Text and plates clean and fine. Expert repair to joints and slipcase, minor toning to spine, binding attractive. An extremely good copy of this splendid production.